Soul masters would only truly enter the realm of high-level soul masters when they got their seventh soul ring. For people like Huo Yuhao and Wang Qiu'er, who were both prodigious soul masters with Ultimate martial souls, their respective strengths were comparable to that of a seven-ringed soul master.
They were deep within the Setting Sun Forest after racing forward for about two hours, and the vegetation became increasingly dense the further they went. However, what made Huo Yuhao surprised was that they had already gone deep into the Setting Sun Forest, yet he still hadn't detected any powerful soul beasts with Spiritual Detection. They rarely came across any thousand-year soul beasts, let alone ten-thousand year soul beasts.
The occasional thousand-year soul beast that dared to come near with malicious intentions were chased away in fright when Wang Qiu'er released a little bit of her aura. They hadn't had a single fight after traveling for two hours, an experience thatcould even be described as unimaginable.
"Let's take a break." Huo Yuhao had regained his composure after fusing with the soul bone before this. Wang Dong'er still had more than two years before her injury would take her life, and this matter wasn't that urgent. Huo Yuhao had also seen how incredibly powerful Niu Tian and Titan were with his own eyes, and if a powerful individual like Niu Tian said that this place was filled with dangers, then it couldn't be false.
Even though they hadn't encountered any trouble with soul beasts on their journey thus far, Huo Yuhao still decided to take a break after travelling for a certain duration of time so that they could recover to their optimal states before they pushed forward. He had been inside many places inhabited by soul beasts, and his experience told him that maintaining his best condition was the number-one law of survival. His abilities were relatively formidable, but they still paled in comparison to a world filled with soul beasts.
They found a place that was higher than the areas around it so that they could conveniently survey their surroundings, and make it harder for them to get ambushed. They rested while munching on their rations at the same time.
"How far are we?" Wang Qiu'er asked.
Huo Yuhao answered, "Not far. The sky is still bright, so it's easy to tell the direction. We will probably be nearing our destination within two hours."
Wang Qiu'er nodded and said, "Yuhao, I don't know why, but I feel as if something is not right."
"Eh?" Huo Yuhao was astonished, and he had always been impressed by Wang Qiu'er's senses. She had the Golden Dragon's Perception, which was probably more sensitive and at a higher level than his Spiritual Detection. After all, Spiritual Detection could only detect tangible things and real things, while Wang Qiu'er's Golden Dragon Perception had some clairvoyant abilities.
"What's wrong? When did it begin?" He hurriedly pursued the issue.
Wang Qiu'er answered, "I can't quite put a finger on it. There's this unsettling feeling in my heart, and it's there even though it's not serious. It began a few moments ago... it seems like the Setting Sun Forest does have some abnormal entities."
Huo Yuhao frowned and said, "Can you tell where this unsettling feeling is coming from?"
Wang Qiu'er glanced at him and said, "It's coming from the direction we are moving towards. This is the reason why I asked how far we are from our destination. I'm getting this ominous feeling even when we're still two hours away, and that means this unsettling feeling will become an alarming and perilous feeling if we continue forward. I suggest we turn back." Wang Qiu'er's attitude was extremely solemn when she uttered these words.
Huo Yuhao went silent and began to contemplate. This was the first time since he had met her that this girl had shown such subtle fear. Yes, she's right. We still have two more hours to go, and her Golden Dragon Perception is already sensing danger. How perilous will the dangers we face on this expedition be?
Wang Qiu'er didn't push him, and returned to silently eating her rations.
Huo Yuhao gobbled his rations in a few mouthfuls, and he drank some water before he started to rest. He didn't meditate, as resting like this could also help him recover his expended soul power, and he could also prepare himself.
Wang Qiu'er's eyebrows knitted slightly. She couldn't tell what decision Huo Yuhao had made from his expression, but she was sure that he was considering her words. This fellow had always been quite composed.
Fifteen minutes went by.
Huo Yuhao opened his eyes once more, and Wang Qiu'er opened her eyes at the same time, as if she had felt something, and looked in his direction.
"Go back." Huo Yuhao muttered calmly.
"Alright," Wang Qiu'er stood up, and a rare smile appeared on her face. "Composure is a virtue." She turned around towards where they had come as she spoke.
She took but a few steps before she unwittingly stopped in her tracks and turned back. Huo Yuhao was not there anymore, but he wasn't behind her. He was moving forward in the opposite direction, which meant he was going towards their initial destination.
"Hey! Did you not say that we're going back?" Wang Qiu'er shouted. She sounded a little melancholic.
Huo Yuhao didn't stop moving as he said, "You can go back by yourself. You didn't have to accompany me on this dangerous adventure in the first place. Mind your own safety on the way back - goodbye." He began to pick up the pace and sped deeper into the Setting Sun Forest as he spoke.
Wang Qiu'er was rooted to the spot. She could feel an unprecedented aura from Huo Yuhao's body, and she felt as if his frame had become a lot bigger than before in that instant. She felt as if nothing could stop him on his path forward.
Who is he trying to save that's making him so stubborn and persistent? Family, perhaps? But he doesn't have any family, all he has left are his enemies. A strange look flickered across her eyes, as if she had just recalled something. Wang Qiu'er rubbed her fist and finally stomped on the ground as she launched herself in Huo Yuhao's direction.
Wang Qiu'er was a lot faster than Huo Yuhao in terms of short distance explosiveness, and she caught up with him in no time.
"Thank you," Huo Yuhao said without even turning back.
"What are you thanking me for?" Wang Qiu'er's tone didn't sound very pleasant.
Huo Yuhao said solemnly, "That you can chase me down means you are now my friend in my heart."
Wang Qiu'er sounded a little depressed as she said, "So you haven't been treating me like a friend this whole time?"
Huo Yuhao said, "No. I'm talking about a good friend that is deserving of my trust. We haven't known each other for that long, after all."
"Hmph! What makes you think I'm not trying to drag you back?" There was a tinge of threat in Wang Qiu'er's voice.
Huo Yuhao chortled and said, "You'd be doing it for my own good even if you attempted to drag me back. Of course, I would resist."
Wang Qiu'er grew quiet, but she had already arrived beside Huo Yuhao, and was looking sideways in his direction.
Huo Yuhao turned around and gave her a doubtful look. He met her radiant and piercing gaze, and he immediately felt a little embarrassed. "You staring at me at such a close distance gives me a lot of pressure."
Wang Qiu'er lowered her voice and said, "It's really very dangerous! Is it truly worth it?"
Huo Yuhao tilted his head slightly, and his eyes turned diagonally upwards to the sky. He spoke with a calm voice, almost as if this was a matter of fact. "I've thought about losing her and what would become of me. I realized that my entire world would turn gray, and I would no longer have any vitality. Perhaps, I might even lose the will to live. That's when I realized, to my surprise, that her life had become more important than my own."
Wang Qiu'er's eyes grew slack. Her big blue eyes flowed with incredulity.
"How… how is that possible? How can someone else's life be more important than your own? Is there something wrong with your brain?"
Huo Yuhao gave her a doubtful look and said, "Why are you agitated? We will always have someone whose life is more important than our own. If my mother was still alive, her life would be more important than mine in much the same manner."
Wang Qiu'er's powerful body started to quiver faintly. She lowered her head and muttered under her breath, "A… a sentiment like this actually exists, where other people's lives are more important than your own? But only the strongest will survive, and we should do anything we can do continue living, whatever the means. We only live once, and we won't get this life back once it's gone."
Huo Yuhao answered plainly, "You're right, we only live once. What you're talking about is the law of the jungle, but not the law of humanity. Humans have flesh, blood, and emotions. We are not soul beasts, and neither are we animals. We are humans. If everyone attempts to survive by doing anything he or she can whatever the means, and if everyone views his or her own benefits and interests as more important than anything else, how different would we be from wild beasts? The main thing that distinguishes us from beasts is our emotions and our sentiments, and the fact that we know how to love."
Wang Qiu'er's eyes were completely blank. Her eyes weren't just blank, it felt as if she was in a daze, and her emotions began to destabilize.
Huo Yuhao had no idea why she was how she was, but he thought about it for a while and understood how she felt. Perhaps she encountered one too many dangers during that year she was living inside the Great Star Dou Forest by herself, and those dangers gave her this desire to survive.
He tried his best to make his tone a little gentler as he said, "You don't have to think so much. Everyone has their own ways to live. Perhaps the reason why you haven't experienced what I'm talking about is because you haven't truly loved someone before. Think about it: our parents gave birth to us and raised us since we were born. How much suffering, effort, sweat, and tears did they have to put in? Did they want anything from us? No. Parental love is unconditional and selfless. Even though I lived in poverty as a kid, and I've never had a father, my mother's love for me was no less than what other parents had for their own children."
Wang Qiu'er suddenly raised her head vigorously and said angrily, "Nonsense! My parents never took care of me. They abandoned me from the day I was born, and they left me to live in a foreign environment. Do you know how much pain and suffering I've been through to survive? Have you experienced the isolation, the helplessness, the panic that nobody is around to help you, that you can just die at any moment? I only love myself!" She was almost growling when she reached the last sentence.